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upwork vs fiverr

Upwork vs Fiverr: Which freelance platform is best for startups?

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Most startups and small businesses are in need of talent consider Upwork vs Fiverr — writers, website designers, marketers — but only need people to come on for a few months or the duration of a project. This is where freelancers come in, helping businesses achieve their goals without being full-time employees. With roughly 57 million freelancers in the United states alone (that’s about 41% of the American workforce), startups have the ability to peruse a large network to find the right person for the job. However, many business owners have difficulty selecting a freelancer, fearing that they will be scammed by strangers online.

It’s not just buyers who are turning to freelance work. Recently, the professional sphere has been dealt hefty blows, leaving many without work. Others realized how much they enjoy working from home, and have chosen to leave their traditional office jobs in order to be their own bosses. As a result, the number of people who freelance — either full time or as a side hustle — has risen exponentially with no signs of slowing down. 

Other companies have closed down their brick and mortar locations and now offer their services online, but need a bit of help finding new clients to reestablish themselves. Companies even look at different outsourced sales services to grow their business.

This is why websites like Upwork and Fiverr exist: as a place where freelancers can find new clients and to connect startups and businesses with the right freelancer for their needs. While there are a number of online freelancing platforms, Upwork vs Fiverr is a good comparison because they are by far the most popular, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. 

What is Upwork?

Upwork is an online freelance marketplace that allows users to connect with those looking for work in three different ways:

  1. The Talent Marketplace is much like an online bulletin board. There, you can post jobs and your budget, and freelancers can respond to the postings with their bids and credentials. This is a convenient option for startups and business owners, as it saves you the time of searching for a freelancer — they come right to you!
  2. The Project Catalog is more similar to the Facebook marketplace or craigslist. It allows freelancers to post and sell projects that they either have already completed and can be tailored to your company’s needs or are advertising their skills for a project they are prepared to work on for you.
  3. The last feature is called Talent Scout, which works as a liaison between freelancers and those looking to hire. It is a recruiter service, which businesses can use to find the best freelancers for the job.

Upwork does not focus on one specific aspect of freelancing, and you can hire someone to do just about anything, such as writing, translation, customer service, finances, graphic design, and more. The platform boasts a number of top-notch clients who have used Upwork to find freelancers, including Airbnb, GoDaddy, and even Microsoft, showing its users that it is a legitimate and respected platform even amongst huge companies. Additionally, Upwork fosters long-term working relationships between buyers and sellers. A key point to remember when comparing Upwork vs Fiverr.

How Upwork Works

Connecting on Fiverr vs Upwork

Upwork allows you to create your profile free of charge, where you can search freelancers in your country and across the world. While you don’t need to pay to create an account, freelancers need Connects — Upwork’s virtual credit system — in order to post projects and apply to jobs. With a free Upwork account, freelancers receive 10 free Connects a month, while the upgraded subscription includes 80 Connections a month.

Additionally, Upwork gives both freelancers and their clients more flexibility than other freelancing platforms when it comes to payment, allowing freelancers to get paid per project or with an hourly wage. Since every project is different, this is a great way to customize payment so that it fits the scope of the work and can be agreed upon by freelancers and their clients.

What is Fiverr?

Fiverr is an online marketplace where freelancers can offer their services, called “gigs”, to small businesses, startups, and anyone else who may be in need of a helping hand. Fiverr gets its name from the platform’s pricing, as the starting price for all gigs is only $5 — though most freelancers on the platform charge more than that depending on the service offered. Now, services offered by sellers on Fiverr range anywhere from $5 all the way up to $10,000. Upwork vs Fiverr is an interesting comparison because of the experience of the two different sites.

Fiverr is a massive marketplace, with each of its categories split into dozens of subcategories. While Upwork tends to focus on more traditional freelance work, Fiverr expands their reach from not only conventional gigs to things like NFT art or dance lessons. With big name clients such as Netflix, PayPal, Facebook, and even Google, Fiverr’s broad categories are put to good use.

How Fiverr Works

Connecting on Fiverr vs Upwork

Startups and small businesses can connect with freelancers in two different ways:

  1. The simplest route for buyers is to search the Marketplace to find a freelancer that fits their needs. It may seem daunting at first, but Fiverr has so many subcategories that greatly narrow down the pool of gigs. Freelancers will post their gigs in their selected category, where buyers can purchase their services directly or message them to discuss details of a potential project.
  2. Buyer Requests make it easy for startups and small businesses to cut through the din of the marketplace and make “requests” that freelancers can apply to directly. While this is a simpler route, there is no convenient way to filter through the responses you get to these requests, and you may have freelancers who are not qualified for your project messaging you.

Fiverr also uses a ranking system for all of its freelancers, classifying them as New Seller, Level 1 Seller, Level 2 Seller, and Top-Rated Seller, which gives buyers peace of mind. When you purchase from a seller that ranks highly on Fiverr, you know that they are reliable and are not likely to scam you. Like Upwork, creating an account as a seller or buyer is completely free of charge — no Connects required, something that is a draw in the Upwork vs Fiverr comparison.

Company Hiring: Upwork vs Fiverr for Startups and Small Businesses

More companies are using freelancers for contracted work in lieu of hiring multiple employees full time and freelancing platforms have noticed. Both Upwork and Fiverr offer special features that cater to startups, small businesses, and large companies alike.

Fiverr’s program for companies and startups, Fiverr Business, offers business owners and teams special features that are not available to users who have not subscribed to the service, including:

  • Tailored lists of pre-vetted freelancers with experience working on business projects.
  • A designated Fiverr Business Success Manager, who works as a recruiter to find the right freelancer for your company’s project.
  • A team space where you and your employees can easily converse with freelancers while on Fiverr’s platform.
  • Management tools that track project progress, budgets, and transactions.

A Fiverr Business subscription costs $149 a year, but the platform is offering a one year trial subscription completely free of charge — no credit card needed.

Upwork’s business plan, Upwork Enterprise, allows startups and small businesses to seamlessly integrate their existing workforce and freelancers found on the platform. These are some of the program’s best features:

  • Enterprise Suite uses artificial intelligence technology to quickly scan freelancers on the platform and cross-examine their credentials with your project’s stipulations to find the perfect match. If you aren’t keen on AI, a talent manager can personally select pre-vetted freelancers with the right experience.
  • Lists and records of freelancers your business has worked with previously, Talent Clouds creates a virtual contact list so you can rehire your favorite freelancers.
  • Upwork Enterprise also offers expert, hands-on assistance when it comes to things like SOWs, contracts, hiring models, and payroll.

Upwork offers multiple plans for businesses at different price points, ranging from $49.99 for their Plus package, $499 a month for the Business plan, and the top tier, Enterprise, is priced upon request and can be fully tailored to fit your company’s needs.

Upwork vs. Fiverr Pricing 

On both platforms, when considering Upwork vs Fiverr, pricing depends on whether you are a freelancer or a buyer. While a freelancer isn’t technically “buying” services, Upwork and Fiverr take their cut in the form of commissions. 

How much does Upwork cost?

For both freelancers and those looking to employ their services, creating an account on Upwork is free of charge. With Upwork’s free plan, users can create their profiles and input detailed information about themselves or their company (you can even attach a video introduction so that others know more about you), create projects, and search both domestic and international searches. Even on a free plan, Upwork is not completely free, but these costs are different depending on your role.

  1. Upwork Costs for Buyers (or Clients)

Like most freelance platforms, Upwork keeps its fees for buyers low to incentivize them to use the platform. In fact, Upwork has some of the lowest fees for buyers, charging only a 3% processing fee for all payments. For example, if you pay a freelancer $100, you would be charged an additional $3 for the payment processing fee. 

Should you work with a freelancer on an hourly basis, the payment processing fee will be billed to you weekly. However, this payment processing fee also applies should you want to reward the freelancer with a tip or “bonus” for their hard work

2. Upwork Costs for Freelancers

As mentioned before, Upwork gives freelancers 10 free Connects each month included with the free plan, which freelancers are required to use in order to apply to jobs that potential clients have posted. With the free plan, freelancers can only apply to 10 job postings a month, so if you want to apply to more than that, you will have to shell out $0.15 for every additional Connect you may need. Unfortunately, Connects cannot be purchased individually, only in bundles of 10, 20, 40, 60, or 80. There is no discount for buying Connects in bulk. However, unused Connects will roll over to the next month (up to 200 Connects), but expire after one year.

However, freelancers can choose to upgrade their plan to the paid Plus subscription, which costs $14.99 a month. In addition to giving freelancers 80 Connects a month, the Plus plan also includes:

● Guarantee that your profile will not be set to “hidden” due to inactivity.

● Option to keep your earnings confidential.

● Ability to view other freelancer’s bids on jobs.

● Profile URL customization.

● More data and reports.

Upwork also takes commission from every sale freelancers make, which is done on a sliding scale depending on how much money you have earned. The platform incentivizes making money, as Upwork’s fee is smaller when you make more money. However, it is based on the lifetime earnings with one client — not all of them — which looks something like this:

Total lifetime billing (for one client)Upwork’s Commission
$0 – $50020%
$501 – $10,00010%
$10,001 and up5%

How much does Fiverr cost?

Creating an account on Fiverr is completely free whether you are a seller or a buyer. In fact, with one profile, you can switch back and forth as a seller and buyer, meaning that you can be a freelancer and purchase services from other freelancers. However, there are fees associated with both buying and selling.

  1. Fiverr Costs for Buyers

Fiverr has a straightforward, predetermined cost for startups and small businesses who purchase services on their platform. In addition to paying the seller’s price for the gig, you will also pay Fiverr’s service and processing fees which go directly to the platform, which cost:

● $2 for purchases from $5 to $40

● 5% for orders over $40

Fiverr’s based-on-price commission is a great incentive for buyers to place larger orders, but can result in paying hefty fees, something to consider when comparing Upwork vs Fiverr. Additionally, should you want to tip a freelancer, you will have to pay an additional 20% fee on top of the purchase fees. For example, if you want to give the seller a $5 tip, you will be charged $7.28 — to make matters worse, Fiverr takes 20% of all freelancer earnings, meaning that they will only see roughly $4 from your total $7.28 purchase.

2. Fiverr Costs for Freelancers

Fiverr keeps it simple when it comes to commission fees, taking a total of 20% of all of your earnings as a freelancer. Yes, all of your earnings, including tips. This is a steep fee, but you don’t need to purchase an additional plan in order to apply for jobs or find customers. 

Comparing The Reviews of Upwork vs Fiverr

The Pros and Cons of Upwork

When thinking about Upwork vs Fiverr as freelance platforms, both have their advantages and disadvantages which can vary depending on what you want to get out of your experience, and some pros for buyers may end up being a con for freelancers and vice versa. Upwork focuses on professional, long-term working relationships between freelancers and their clients, but if you are looking for an out-of-the-box experience, Upwork might not be the best choice for you when comparing Upwork vs Fiverr. 

Pros of Upwork

Advantages for BuyersAdvantages for Freelancers
Freelancers apply and bid on jobs posted by buyers, so small businesses and startups don’t have to scour through pages of listings to find the right person for the job.You can choose to charge on a one time, per-project basis, or by an hourly rate. While some projects may be quick and easy, others are more time intensive than expected. Charging by the hour ensures that you are compensated fairly for the amount of work you did.
Low processing fees are fixed at 3% per payment for buyers.Incentivizes long-term working relationships between buyers and sellers: if you have found a client that you like to work with, Upwork’s sliding scale commission fees lessen the more money you earn from that particular client.
Incentivizes long-term working relationships: once you have found a freelancer you like, they will be more likely to keep working with you due to the sliding scale commission fees.Upwork’s Talent Scout feature could potentially match you up with the perfect client, without having to pay for extra Connects. 
Upwork’s Talent Scout feature takes all of the guesswork out of finding the perfect freelancer — they do it for you!Upwork allows high levels of customization for seller profiles. You can add your portfolio, resume, and more to show clients why they should hire you.

The best Upwork feature for both buyers and sellers is that Upwork permits its users to do business outside of the platform, making it simple to Zoom call, chat, and work on projects together in real-time, instead of through Upwork’s messaging system. Though there is a fee to convert, it pays off over time as buyers no longer have to pay processing fees and freelancers can keep their hard-earned cash without Upwork’s cut being subtracted. Plus, Upwork has an app that makes it easy to communicate with other users while on the go.

Cons of Upwork

Disadvantages for BuyersDisadvantages for Freelancers
If a freelancer runs out of Connects, they won’t be able to apply to your job posting — you could miss out on the perfect freelancer because they didn’t have any Connects left.Only ten free Connects a month and no discount for buying more, and an upgraded account is an extra monthly fee.
Any freelancer on Upwork can apply to your job postings. While you may get lots of applications, some applicants will be unqualified — you don’t see every freelancer available, even if they would be the perfect fit.Upwork’s sliding scale commission fees start at 20% and depending on the scope and frequency of work your client requests, it could take ages to meet the requirements for lower fees.
You have to pay an extra fee if you want to give a freelancer a bonus.If your client gives you a bonus, Upwork takes a percentage of your tip.
Freelancer rates on Upwork are generally higher than those on other platforms, but this does not always translate to higher quality.It’s hard to establish yourself at first. Upwork mainly relies on freelancers to apply to jobs, and competition is steep when there are thousands of vetted freelancers with hundreds of glowing reviews.

Fiverr: The Pros and Cons

This freelance platform may have gotten a bad rap in the past due to its large number of sellers offering gigs for prices that seem too good to be true, but has since proven its worth to the freelancing community. 

Fiverr Pros

Advantages for BuyersAdvantages for Freelancers
Fiverr’s processing fees depend on how much you spend, charging you $1 for purchases under $20 and 5% for orders over $20.Finding clients is the hardest thing to do as a freelancer, but on Fiverr, clients find you. While you can respond to buyer requests, the majority of sales will come from clients who found your gig while searching on the marketplace.
You can find a freelancer for just about anything. Fiverr’s massive marketplace hosts everything from logo design to horoscope readings.You can work with clients at any time for free, without being required to pay for additional Connects like Upwork.
Fiverr makes it easy to find sellers that have been vetted by their previous clients and the platform itself with their seller ranking system. The ranking system has stringent requirements and incentivizes sellers to be reliable and produce high quality work.Fiverr’s seller ranking system can help you get noticed by clients even if you don’t have an extensive portfolio of work — your reviews from past clients speak for themselves.
For the most part, the services offered on Fiverr are cheaper than other platforms, but this can also be a con. Some $5 gigs may feel like a $5 project — poor quality, with errors — while other sellers offering their services for the same price may be phenomenal. If you don’t have a portfolio of work yet, you can build one on Fiverr. Each time you deliver a finished project, you can ask the client to allow you to include it in your gig portfolio. If they agree, the project will be displayed on your gig page for other clients to see.

As an added plus, both Fiverr’s desktop site and mobile app are aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate for both buyers and freelancers.

Fiverr Cons

Disadvantages for BuyersDisadvantages for Freelancers
Fiverr’s massive online marketplaces gives buyers the freedom of choice, but it can feel a bit too big. You can always choose to work with one of Fiverr’s Pro rated sellers, but there are fewer of them and are typically more expensive. If you are looking for a freelancer with a specific niche in a specific price range, it will require some trial and error.With over 830,000 freelancers on Fiverr and more joining every day, competition is steep. If you want to be successful on Fiverr, you will have to carve out a specific niche for yourself. Some categories, like Logo Design, have over 6,000 gigs on the marketplace, whereas a more specific category like Graphics for Streamers has less than a thousand. It may seem counterintuitive to offer selective services, but the field will be less competitive.
Even if you have already worked with a freelancer, Fiverr offers no protections if you don’t keep all communications on their platform. If a freelancer scams you after you have attempted to work with them outside of Fiverr to bypass their fees, they will not assist you.Fiverr does not allow any communication of any sort off platform. If you are caught contacting clients directly (not through Fiverr) you can be banned, and once you are banned, you are not allowed to create another Fiverr account.
Fiverr is not optimal if you are looking to create long-term working relationships with freelancers. Until recently, buyers could not earn returning customer discounts unless offered to them by the seller. Now, Fiverr allows freelancers to offer buyers Subscriptions on a monthly basis, but the discount only applies to one project a month.You can’t turn down a sale on Fiverr. If a client places an order with you and you don’t want to do it — even if the buyer requested a service you do not provide — the order is automatically placed and you have to cancel it. Even worse, canceled orders are a strike against you and can affect your Seller Rank, even if it isn’t your fault.
No hourly pricing. For large projects, many Fiverr freelancers may inflate their quote because they aren’t sure how much time it will take them. Plus, you could be paying your freelancer less than what they’re worth.No hourly pricing. If a project requires more work than expected, you are unable to change the price of the work after the order is placed.
If you or the seller has to cancel your order, your money is not refunded to your bank account or credit card. Instead, the “refund” goes back into your Fiverr balance and can only be used on Fiverr.Fiverr takes a 20% commission fee on every dollar you make — including tips.

Fiverr vs Upwork: Overview

When comparing Upwork vs Fiverr, both are legitimate freelancing platforms where startups and small businesses can connect with freelancers and offer freelancers a convenient way to find new clients without extra legwork. You may be able to decide which you prefer after seeing the pros and cons for each site, but user reviews should be taken into consideration.

Depending on the review website, Fiverr could potentially be a wonderful or terrible place. The platform has earned a rating of 1.65 out of 5 stars on Sitejabber. Most negative reviews mention a lack of quality sellers on the site or are from disgruntled freelancers who felt that they were cheated by Fiverr. Fiverr has also achieved a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, where Fiverr representatives respond directly to each reviewer. Positive reviews talk about how easy Fiverr is to use and that they have found wonderful freelancers on the platform, while negative reviews focus on lacking customer service support.

Unlike Fiverr, Upwork maintains consistent ratings on multiple websites, earning 4 out of 5 stars on Sitejabber and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot. On both sites, reviewers praise Upwork’s resources for freelancers, while the negative reviews center around scams and payment issues.

Comparing the advantages, disadvantages, and reviews for each site reveals that each site is best for different types of people. For freelancers, Fiverr’s cons outweigh the pros, as they charge their users exorbitant commission fees and don’t offer much support, making Upwork the best freelancing platform for freelancers. For buyers, Upwork is pricier but may yield better results. If you’re a startup or small business owner looking to save money, Fiverr could be your best bet.

Fiverr vs Upwork for Sales

If you’re considering hiring an inside sales consultant or fractional sales management, you are better off looking at, a site that specializing in freelance salespeople.

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